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Remembering Morelli's Mom-and-Pop Shop in Scott

A loving look back at a beloved mom-and-pop shop.

I was reminiscing with a friend about Morelli’s. Back in the day, before Walmart, this land was populated by mom-and-pop shops.

I loved the mom and pops. I remember going to one in Beechview, up the road from my nana’s house. It’s where I bought some of my first comic books and baseball cards, Adam Warlock and Manny Sanguillen, respectively. I even had a collection of Battlestar Galactica cards, back when Starbuck was a boy.

Lillian and Lou Morelli were the affable owners of Morelli’s, literally a mom and a pop of the shop. I guess they didn’t call them mom-and-pops for nothing. Morelli’s was at the junction between Lindsay and Victory, a stone’s throw from the Scott Township Municipal Building and police station (kids, don’t throw stones at the police, I'm just saying).  

I think every child on Lindsay Road has fond memories of riding their bikes to Morelli’s and grabbing some penny candy (it was never a penny, but that’s what we called it for some reason).

My friend’s Sheri and Gail were partial to French onion dip more than candy, but we all went down there for something. My mom always went for the extra-lean ground beef or the Parma sausage. Morelli’s saved us from driving to the strip on more than one occasion.

Lou was a fine, old, Italian gentleman; his wife, Lillian, was more interesting. It seemed to me that she was always dressed in a white and blue floral housecoat, like one of the Flintstone’s or Jetson’s she always wore the same clothes. At least, it seemed that way to me.  

Lillian had an odd affectation. She used to sneak small bites of the chipped ham. It wasn’t that she used to sneak the ham shavings, it was the way she did it. She would stare at the ceiling, unhinge her jaw like some voracious snake, and power it down her gullet, wiggling her neck as if she were some great unimaginable beast swallowing a live animal.

It was disturbing to watch, and, like a car crash, we were unable to look away. Oh you’d pretend to be looking at a can of LaSueur peas (ridiculously overpriced French peas, especially at Morelli’s), but you were secretly getting some visceral thrill from watching Lil gobble the finely sliced ham bits, like the Kraken about to swallow Andromeda in “Clash of the Titans (the original, not the stupid remake).”

The chipped ham never stood a chance.

While reminiscing, I realized I may not have gotten all of the details right. I’m sure Lillian Morelli had more than one outfit. Also, for the sake of full disclosure, “Clash of the Titan’s” came out in 1981, long after I had seen Lillian devour her prey.

But this story has a sad ending. Mr. Morelli passed ten years ago 10 years ago today (July 6, 2001). Though, Mrs. Morelli is still with us. Hide your chipped ham.

Mike Jones (Editor) August 02, 2011 at 10:04 PM
I went to Gracies a few times -- and got my hair cut downstairs at Cochran Barber -- until they tore it down and put up the Rite Aid... cause we need a drug store (or two) on every street corner in America.
Michael Buzzelli August 02, 2011 at 10:09 PM
I know. There are Walgreens and Rite Aids across the street from one another these days!
Ron Frasinelli July 09, 2012 at 02:46 PM
Mike, I responded to your article but I'm not certain it's going to post. There's a limit to the amount of words you can respond with and I must have exceeded it. I'll be brief. In my view your post on mr & mrs morelli was disrespectful. Be glad you chose the Internet as a forum to share your memories. If you had peddled your bike to morellis market and showed this kind of disrespect around us terrace guys your comments would have ended with much more than a period. One more thing. Your article on Scott twp pool sucked as well. Don't quit your day job mike.
Michael Buzzelli July 09, 2012 at 03:05 PM
I can see your comment, Ron. I'm sorry you don't like two of my hundreds of articles. I can't apologize for remembering things the way I remember them. I had a lot of comments on this story both positive and negative. It is what it is. Please continue using and supporting Patch, just skip over my stuff in the future, for the sake of your blood pressure.
Ray Klehm July 09, 2012 at 03:24 PM
Hey Buzz, What can you expect from someone from the Terrace …?
Michael Buzzelli July 09, 2012 at 03:32 PM
hahha.Ray. Be nice! :)
Ron Frasinelli July 09, 2012 at 03:33 PM
You can be sure I'll be skipping over your articles mike but it has nothing to do with my blood pressure. I prefer well written thought provoking authors
Ron Frasinelli July 09, 2012 at 03:37 PM
Be careful Ray. Be very very careful
Ray Klehm July 09, 2012 at 04:20 PM
I live in Mt. Lebanon now ... and for good reasons!
Michael Buzzelli July 09, 2012 at 04:24 PM
You're cracking me up today, Ray! :)
Fish July 09, 2012 at 04:51 PM
Ron, I agree with you 100% on his comments about Mrs. Morelli. She just passed away last month and at the funeral I told her son & daughter how great their parents were to the families in the area. Of all the nice things that could have been said about her & this a$$ has to make fun of her.
Ron Frasinelli July 09, 2012 at 05:16 PM
Ray Im done here with the two of you. How could a terrace boy ever match wits with someone who's authored hundreds of articles and another who lives in mt Lebanon. I appreciate you supporting your buddy much like I did my neighborhood. Mikes insight on how mrs morelli chewed her chipped ham was insightful to say the least. The meat of the story about scott park and the time mr Ellis said nipple instead of Napoli surely should have been considered for a poulitzer prize. Apparently, The impact that a little neighborhood store and a twp park has on it's community is measured by chipped ham and a froydian slip. There are others that may find deeper meaning and certainly don't share your implications of status Ray. Mike in all fairness I will read more of your work. Your profession invites this kind of scrutiny and or praise and I'm sure your accustomed to both.
Michael Buzzelli July 09, 2012 at 05:22 PM
Thank you for continuing to read. My humor isn't for everyone. Clearly. Nor was it ever intended to be. Though I still think it was hilarious when Mr. Ellis said "Little Nipple's pizza." There is a bit of Beavis in me. And clearly...according to many of you...lots of Butthead, too! :)
Fish July 09, 2012 at 05:26 PM
Of course I'm sure he would feel perfectly fine if somebody wrote something ignorant like that about his mother..... just so long as that's what somebody remembered it would be OK with him, what a guy !!!
Ray Klehm July 09, 2012 at 05:36 PM
Ron, I lived in Scott most of my life, and yes friend form the Terrace … some of which I still have to this day. I loved Mr. and Ms. Morelli. I apologize if you are offended by my comments
Ron Frasinelli July 09, 2012 at 05:38 PM
Mike you mention you were away from the burgh for some time then returned. My view on your article was a pittsburgher responding to negative comments about his or her nieghborhood. Simply a reminder that we pittsburghers have great pride on where we grew up despite the average anual income. Ray, why don't you share with us where it was you came from on your way to mt Lebanon. I'm sure all mikes loyal charters valley readers would love to know. I'm certain they are as proud having Ray Klehm as a former resident as mt Lebo is of you now.
Ray Klehm July 09, 2012 at 06:16 PM
Well Ron, I am married and have three kids; my wife is from Scott as well. My wife owns her own business in the area and I work in architecture. We are at Scott park often … maybe we will see you there sometime.
Ron Frasinelli July 09, 2012 at 06:39 PM
So you no longer live in Scott " for good reason" but you come back to use the pool. Shouldn't you be using the mt Lebanon pool Ray ? Oh wait that's right no pool in Lebo. Isn't Doormont pool closer or perhaps dormont is lower on the social ladder than Scott. Again you confuse me ray Not sure what you and your wifes occupation have to do with this but you definately have status issues. Hopefully your children don't learn from your example. You and your writer friends think twice before you knock the terrace again. We are very proud of our nieghborhood and the special people past and present who've made it a great place to live. Good luck to all of you
Ray Klehm July 09, 2012 at 07:24 PM
Ron, Some of my comments were in jest … I am very proud of where I came from. I order to know where you are going; you have to know where you have been. It appears you are the one with issues … perhaps it is because you are from the Terrace?
Lynn Carpenter July 18, 2012 at 05:27 PM
To Ray Klehm, FYI - just wanted to let you know that Mr. Frasinelli did not live in the Terrace. He lived down the street on Lindsay. I do remember, though, that all of his friends lived there as well as some family members. Anyway, he makes some valid points about your issues with status. I remember your family well and I must say that I think it's great that you made something good for yourself considering how bad your family life was while you were growing up. I remember that for a time your family lived on Hope Hollow Road in one of the duplexes. You definitely have reason to feel proud of you accomplishments, but if you brag about it, then people will just think you are trying to prove something. Best Wishes to you & your family
Ray Klehm July 18, 2012 at 06:41 PM
Lynn, As I told Ron, most of my comments were made in jest. I do not have a status issue. I also apologized, but everything got way out of hand. As far as I know … my life on Lindsay Road was fine. You may have me confused with someone else. I never lived on Hope Hollow Road … but I did live in Brookline and Carnegie. My sense of humor is not for everyone …
Michael Buzzelli July 18, 2012 at 07:01 PM
"My sense of humor is not for everyone." I'm going to have to use that line, Ray! :)
Ray Klehm July 18, 2012 at 07:12 PM
Mike, I wish that I had never made a comment about any of this …
Ray Klehm July 18, 2012 at 07:37 PM
Mike, How is everything going with the new book?
Laura Klehm Sago July 26, 2012 at 06:33 PM
Fish, I think you might want to check the date on the article - a full year prior to the passing of Mrs. Morrelli. Mike meant no disrespect - and I do not appreciate your absolute ignorance and disrespect towards his mother.
Laura Klehm Sago July 26, 2012 at 06:55 PM
I really have to wonder why anyone would comment about this aricle after so much time has passed. Anyone with common sense could tell there was not any disrespect intended when this article was written. Had Mrs. Morelli read it before she passed, she probably would have seen the humor in it herself. I know Lou would have. I personally see all of these ridiculous comments that have been posted as total disrespect and ignorance toward Mike, and anyone that might have enough decency to stand up and do and say the right thing. It really bothers me to see all of these threats and bullying from grown adults (I use this term loosely). I have four children and they know better than to make some of the comments that were made in these posts. I am going out on a limb here, but I would say that as a journalist Mike checks his facts prior to sending an article for print. The rest of you might want to try doing the same.
Michael Buzzelli July 26, 2012 at 06:56 PM
Wow. I love me some Klehms! Thanks for jumping in to the deep end with me and your bro, Laura! :)
rocky ianno March 17, 2013 at 10:27 PM
I actually remember this quaint little market growing up when I visited my cousin who lived by ST.Clair hospital, I was from Mt. Oliver. It was a highlight when visiting in the summer and we would go there every other day and then head over to the park. Now onto something that needs my attention. I am disturbed by this Frasinelli character (or purely the lack of any) and his pointed words and lack or refinement coupled with quite the uncouth mannerism. The article brought nostalgia and fond memories to some and even though a few statements may appear a bit abrasive or rude, it was just his thoughts on what he remembers, there is no reason for thug-like comments or demeaning and condescending attitude.
rocky ianno March 17, 2013 at 10:27 PM
It appears that this one Frasinelli is a cyber bully and most assuredly thinks he's a tough guy. Well I'm not fond of bully's or disdainful and supercilious attitudes. Frasinelli you pick on the writer and those who commented on the article and then you go further and attack peoples geographical location all while making what certainly could be thought of as threats. You do need to watch your blood pressure my boy and watch your tongue as well! Who do you think you are anyways? You're no better than anyone else regardless if you come from the Terrace. I grew up in Mt. Oliver at the Fort, rough and tumble as they come. But I only pick on people that need it, arrogant wanna-be tough guys like YOU!. So read the articles and enjoy share and laugh and make your points, but do it with out dissin others and trying to be something you're not "tough guy"...! Now let me ask YOU this Jabroni'... Do you smell.. what The Rock is cookin...!
destiny walker March 22, 2013 at 08:35 PM
Hmmm can we say that Ronald needs some Anger Management classes ROFL LOL! ;)

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